peter capaldi is leaving Dr Who

Doctor Who: will a female Time Lord replace Peter Capaldi?

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The search is on for the next Time Lord, following the news that Peter Capaldi is to leave Doctor Who at the end of the year. Peter, who has played the lead role on the BBC show for four years, shocked fans when he said it was "time to move on". His successor will become the 13th Doctor to star in the sci-fi programme, but who could it be?

There is already massive speculation as to who will take over, including some household female TV names. Sherlock star Lara Pulver is currently 10/1 joint second favourite with Ben Daniels and Andrew Scott, according to Betfair bookmakers. Catherine Tate, with odds at 25/1, has been tipped as a possible Time Lord. She played the assistant Donna to David Tennant's Doctor from 2006 to 2010. Olivia Coleman, who has worked with incoming producer Chris Chibnall on Broadchurch, could also be a possibility.

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Olivia Coleman and Catherine Tate have been tipped as replacements

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Bets are also being taken for Gemma Arterton, Helen Mirren, Maisie Williams, Helena Bonham Carter, Corrie's Suranne Jones and Downton Abbey stars Michelle Dockery and Joanne Froggatt. "We've yet to see a female Doctor Who and perhaps the time is here for a woman to take on the prestigious role," said Katie Baylis, Betfair spokesperson.

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James Norton and Ben Whishaw are also frontrunners

The bookmakers' frontrunner is James Norton, with odds of 9/1. The Happy Valley star featured in one episode of Doctor Who in 2013 and at the time, he said: "My character met a fairly gruesome end in my Doctor Who episode. Maybe they could quietly recast me as someone else?" Ben Whishaw is also a likely probability, with William Hill bookmakers installing the actor as their 5/1 favourite. Other more unexpected names to appear on the list include David Walliams, Stephen Fry, James Corden , Alan Carr and Katie Hopkins.

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Peter Capaldi said it was "time to move on" from Doctor Who

The current Time Lord, Peter, made the shock announcement that he was leaving during an interview with BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley. "I feel it's time to move on," the 58-year-old said. "I feel sad, I love Doctor Who, it is a fantastic programme to work on. I can't praise the people I work with more highly, but I have always been someone that did a lot of different things." Peter revealed that he was asked to stay on as the 12th Doctor after his contract ran out, but that he wanted to pursue other challenges. The new series will launch in spring, with Peter's final episode airing at Christmas.

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